Vol. 11, No. 1, 2005 Page 7


A report by Brazilian researchers adds to evidence (see page 1) (see related article, Crime Times, 2005, Vol. 11, No. 1, Page 1) that early malnutrition can permanently affect brain function.

J. M. Barreto-Medeiros and colleagues divided 64 rats into two groups: one nursed by well-fed mothers and a second nursed by malnourished mothers. After weaning, all of the rats received a good diet.

When the rats reached adulthood, the researchers injected half of them with fluoxetine (Prozac), which affects serotonin levels in the brain and normally results in reduced aggression in rats. The rats who were well-fed in early life reacted normally to the drug by exhibiting less aggression, but the rats who experienced malnutrition during infancy did not reduce their aggressive behavior. The researchers conclude, "These findings suggest that the serotonergic system was affected by malnutrition during the critical period of brain development, and [that these effects] persisted even after a long period of nutritional recovery."


"Malnutrition during brain growth spurt alters the effect of fluoxetine on aggressive behavior in adult rats," J. M. Barreto-Medeiros, E. G. Feitoza, K. Magalhaes, J. E. Cabral-Filho, F. M. Manhaes-De-Castro, C. M. De-Castro, and R. Manhaes-De-Castro, Nutritional Neuroscience, Vol. 7, No. 1, 2004, 49-52. Address: J. M. Barreto-Medeiros, Dept. de Nutricao, Universidade Federal de Pernambuco (UFPE), Cidade Universitaria, 50670-901, Recife, PE, Brazil.

Return to:
[Author Directory] [Front Page] [Issue Index] [Subject Index] [Title Index]